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Month Index: February, 1995

From:     Michael Sandy <mehawk@?????.?????.com>
Date:     Wed, 1 Feb 95 19:54 PST
Subject:  Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...
Assuming the battle takes place far from a planetoid or other source of air:

Fire a harpoon with stuff that _really_ stinks when in burns into the bottom
of an enemy ship.  Whenever someone comes out to put the fire out, shoot them
with arrows and other missile weapons.  When there is noone on deck, send in
the boarders.  If they don't run up the flag when you have marines on _their_
ship, have you marines detonate a satchel charge over their helm and jump for
space, retrieve the marines and fire their ship.  If they can't get on deck bec
because of your arrows, they can't put out the fire.

Besides, the more violently they maneuver, the more air gets to the fire.

Versus ships types which can't burn, other tactics apply.  Wooden ships
are fairly large in proportion to their mass, and fairly agile.  A less
mobile ship will find its decks cleared in short order.

Standard 'grunt' marine equipment should include a long rope, weighted or
with a grappel at both ends.  A spear with a hook on it.  A firekit of
some kind.  Grenades: either gunpowder, stink bombs, or greek fire.
A continual light signaling kit.

Further, the same equipment used by boarder to damage an enemy ship can be
used to clear decks of battle damage.  Axes, picks, hammers, and prybars
made an excellent addition to a marine squad.

Salvage operations are also appropriate to marines.  Having something to enable
them to operate in foul air, if only for a brief time, goggles and a bladder
or fresh air may enable them to get the most valuable stuff out, or even
briefly power the helm.

For operations on a body, the ship will want quick ways to drop off and pick
up troops.
Gliders work but tend to disperse troops.
I envision a spelljammer coming in at treetop level, at slowest possible speed,
while troops grab for trapeezes or loops of rope to be yanked clear just as
enemy cavalry closes in, to stare helplessly as your ship takes off, getting
away before their own ships can respond.
Or a smash and grab mission, a hammership or galleon full of troops lands, while
overhead more agile warships stand guard as the loot is loaded.
Low level troops are excellant at looting, breaking and burning, even if they
are worth their weight in a fight, cheap and expendable goes a long way.

What skills does a marine need?
If the landing site and the pickup site aren't the same, he'll need skills
in recognizing alien landmarks from a briefing and sketchy maps, during the
day or at night.
Having a backup plan, like a scroll of create minor helm, gives your
expeditionary force an emergency way home, _if_ they don't lose all their
candidate helmsmen.  Marooned alone in enemy territory is a space marines'
greatest nightmare.

What about marines on defense?  Marines need cover if the enemy ship strafes
them, but cover may end up being simple something the enemy can grab onto.
Any place a grappeling line can hit must be in relatively easy reach of a
marine with an axe.  When boarded by ram, the gravity plane of the ship is
going to be different, there may only be a small area where enemy boarders
can safely board.  However, they may be able to shoot missiles into that area,
or at those place where you can shoot at them.  If you are lucky you may have
their entire boarding party lined up on their deck, waiting to board you, and
having no secure way of doing so that won't risk their being dislodged and
squished between the ships.

Many ships are designed with a very small deck, with the main ship's weapons
enclosed.  While this means they'll have fewer crew exposed to enemy fire,
it also means that if they are boarded it will be very easy for the boarders
to prevent anyone from coming on deck.

Conceivably, such a ship could be designed with an airtight area, including the
helm, where the crew could take refuge, while noxiously smelling or poisonous
fires are set outside, if the ship were boarded.
Other means of clearing the decks of raiders abound, with a little preparation.
Illusions could hide a 'sally port' to hit the raiders on deck unawares,
while they are trying to batter in a false door.
An airtight fireproof area is also useful to prevent being burnt or smoked out
in turn.

Gnomes have particularly fiendish ways of disposing of invaders.  The part
of the ship the invaders land on falls off.  Moving machinery crushes them
into hamburger to be fed to giant hamsters.  Live steam is pumped through
pipes to the hallway the boarders enter.

Ships are great place for Glyphs of Warding, Fire Trap, Explosive Runes,
(Authorized Personel Only!  Unauthorized Personel, thank you for cremating

If the boarders have more than one ship, one can threaten topside while the
other threatens below.  Once two ships have enmeshed themselves, other ships
can board at whatever point they choose because of the defenders reduced
maneuvability.  Or the other ship can find the optimal place to launch
missiles from.


Previous Message: Re:Ship Battles and Air Worlds
Next Message: Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...
Month Index: February, 1995

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...    Michael Sandy    02 Feb 1995 03:54:00
Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...    zz David Reilly    02 Feb 1995 04:52:03
Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...    Skreyn@???.com    03 Feb 1995 17:06:59
Re: Non-magical weapons and tactics for space combat...    Michael Sandy    03 Feb 1995 21:05:00

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